Reflex Incontinence: Urinary Incontinence at Its Worst
Out of the main different kinds of urinary incontinence, reflex incontinence is probably one of the most severe. If you take a look at all the definitions for this condition, you’ll read definitions like the inability to control urine release, it’s where the bladder empties without entirely having control of urination or that the bladder contracts on its own and the sufferer couldn’t do anything to stop it. Besides the leakage of urine, this can be a very embarrassing condition when a full or almost full bladder empties all on its own. This is how bad reflex incontinence is.
What Goes On with Reflex Incontinence
For the process of urination, organs like the kidneys, the bladder, and the urethra work together. Even if there isn’t any problem with the kidneys where urine is produced reflex incontinence happens where there is injury or damage to the bladder. For the most part, the bladder muscles contract on their own and the urethra plays a part here where if the sphincter muscles are strong enough, there will only be a leakage of urine. If they’re too weak, the person wouldn’t be able to hold urine in.
What Causes Reflex Incontinence
When the various types of incontinence might have different causes, reflex urinary incontinence is caused most commonly by diseases that affect the nerves. In case of stroke, the bladder could get the wrong nerve signals that make it contract for voiding and emptying itself. Other diseases like brain tumors, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease can also lead a person to suffer from reflex incontinence. If ever a person has been involved in accidents where he or she sustained spinal cord injuries, this will also be the culprit with sending incorrect signals to the muscles of the bladder.
The Types of Tests for Determining Reflex Incontinence
The tests used to diagnose other kinds of urinary incontinence are also used to diagnose reflex urinary incontinence. The most common tests are:
- Physical exam
- Imaging tests like MRI
- Intravenous pyelogram
In many cases, if not all, problems with urinary incontinence relate to some medical condition that is more severe. There is much that a doctor can tell in line with a physical examination where if you used to be in good health but something is amiss now, that might be what’s causing the reflex incontinence. Aside from a physical exam, your doctor will have to ask you specific questions in relation to how you feel physically. It’s imperative that you answer these questions truthfully to properly diagnose reflex incontinence.
Tracking can also be done to help with the diagnosis for reflex incontinence. This usually takes the form of a bladder diary where for a certain period of time, the sufferer would have to keep a diary of information regarding water intake, the amount of urine leakage, frequency and the like. Through the data and the pattern in this diary, the appropriate urination schedule can be made.
As for the testing method like the intravenous pyelogram or IVP, this is mostly done to determine if there are any blockages in the urethra, ureters, kidney or bladder. What takes place here would be a contrast dye is injected into the patient. A series of x-ray images are taken after that to see if there are any blockages which can be the most probable cause for reflex incontinence. There are times when more that blockages are seen in the x-ray like bladder cancer. This is also one of the causes for reflex incontinence.
Considerations for Getting Urinary Incontinence Treatment
It’s important that you don’t self treat and do the techniques you see over the internet because there are many different types of incontinence. Besides reflex incontinence, there are a handful of other types like:
- Stress incontinence
- Urge incontinence
- Mixed incontinence
When you’re scheduled for any kind of invasive test like the cystoscopy or IVP, you do need to tell your doctor about the medications you’re taking. You might be taking blood thinning medications. As for allergies, you also have to disclose this information in that you might have adverse reactions to lidocaine. The proper diagnosis and the proper treatment for reflex incontinence have to be used.